original post found here:
response for ylagloria: Priest conveys to me the particular duty of presiding over the sacraments, a calling of ordained clergy. in the Lutheran church we may use the phrase “minister of Word and Sacrament” to refer to ordained clergy as well. continue reading for other related points.
response to running-like-hell: interesting point.
response to dreamsbeginaroundtheriverbend: i think it also included the influence of other Protestant denominations who thought the Lutherans were too ‘Catholic’.
response to frauluther: i understand that we are all priests in the sense of the priesthood of all believers; i love that radical doctrine. i am thinking that it should be allowed to be synonymous with pastor in the American context. i also don’t think it takes away from the priesthood of all believers to have a vocational calling called ‘priest’. perhaps the downside could be that people would be confused by what the priesthood of all believers is. although I think it could also possibly give a clearer picture of what the priesthood of all believers means. for our day and age, I do not think many people understand what the priesthood of all believers means; some Lutherans have suggested that we replace that phrase with ‘the ministry of the baptized’. but, to have a vocational priest calling i think could be enough to clear up the confusion on an otherwise archaic to our ears phrase. by seeing what a priest does, (i.e., preside over the sacraments, shepherd the flock, minister to the needy), a person can translate that into their own vocational calling. right now I am a teacher in an early learning center. here I work directly with one year-olds for eight hours a day. out of my fear and trust of God, I can say that this is my own priestly duty. in some sense, my sacrament is nurturing them, feeding them, and changing their diapers. so, i guess i can see how it would not necessarily detract from the priesthood of all believers.
response to occident: As Lutherans we do distinguish between what is considered to be a sacrifice and what is considered to be a sacrament. A quote from the Lutheran Confessions: “A sacrament is a ceremony or work in which God presents to us what the promise joined to the ceremony offers”[Apology of the Augsburg Confession Article XXIV:18). So when we refer to the sacraments of Holy Communion and Holy Baptism, we understand them as an act of God and not a work of humans. For in these ceremonies it is God through the Word acting through the minister giving the promise of forgiveness of sins and freedom from sin, death, and the devil.
Therefore, we do not consider the Mass to be a sacrifice. We consider there to be two kinds of sacrifices according to our Lutheran Confessions: “Now there are two, and no more than two, basic kinds of sacrifice. One is the atoning sacrifice, that is, a work of satisfaction for guilt and punishment that reconciles God, conciliates the wrath of God, or merits the forgiveness of sins for others. The other kind is the eucharistic sacrifice. It does not merit the forgiveness of sins or reconciliation but is rendered by those who have already received forgiveness of sins and other benefits” (Apology of the Augsburg Confession Article XXIV:19). The reasoning behind the Lutheran rejection of the Mass as a sacrifice is according to the Letter to the Hebrews: “And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” So, when we offer the Mass we are not re-offering Christ as a sacrifice. Rather, we are administering the promises of God already made once for all time. The sacrifice of Jesus is the only atoning sacrifice we recognize. All other sacrifices are considered eucharistic sacrifices. That is, it is our calling as Christians ‘present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God’ (Romans 12:1). These we don’t do out of coercion, but out of the freedom we have to live our lives as a thanksgiving to God, a life offered in faith.
So, sure we have Lutheran priests. They just are not restricted to the role of clergy. Rather, all believers are to be considered priests, wherever their vocational calling is. And, as I said, I just think that to have a vocational calling for ‘priest’ as one among equals, as a possible link to bringing us closer to the catholic (universal) church. The Reformation was about sticking to the Gospel and what points us to the purity of the Gospel as found in Jesus Christ. That is why the Lutheran church has stayed so Christocentric for our 500 years, and is why we do retain many of the customs/traditions of the one holy, catholic, and apostolic church. This is why I think we should retain the word priest as well. It points to Christ no less than pastor does. A ‘viable’ option I propose, imho.
response to novangla: Yes, I agree with you here. Though I would say that context makes the difference and that all these titles could be used to refer to the same person.
response to tipofthescepter and inhimthereisnoshadowofturning: I would suggest that the term priest can be moved away from a direction of the idea of ‘atoning sacrifice’. As Lutherans, we are good at retaining that which points to Christ, and I think the word priest can point to Christ. the only sense a priest can offer sacrifice is in their spiritual calling, it does not make them better than the priests we have in the laity. Rather, our Lutheran Confessions state: “the New Testament teaches that new and pure sacrifices will be made, namely, faith, prayer, thanksgiving, confession, the preaching of the gospel, suffering on account of the gospel, and similar things (Apology of the Augsburg Confession Article XXIV:30). Rather priest I believe now refers to a eucharistic sacrifice, that is, our lives as a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God for what God has done for us. In addition, our own confessions refer to our clergy as ‘our priests’, so I think it is in line with our confessionalism to return to our historic practice.